Journal: News & Comment

Monday, November 04, 2002
# 6:45:00 PM:

Reputation machines

Permalinks to this entry: individual page or in monthly context. For more material from my journal, visit my home page or the archive.

When you're building a Web site, keep in mind Jakob Nielsen's law of the Web user experience: People spend almost all their time at other Web sites. So you should try to make your site broadly navigable (and searchable via Google) by people who are used to the way other sites work.

That's not an unnecessary restriction on your creativity -- as a writer, I have to acknowledge that people spend almost all their time reading other writers. I can't make up my own grammar, spelling, and typography and expect them to understand me. I'm not James Joyce, and not many people actually read him anyway. But I still manage to write with only 26 letters and some symbols, saying the things I want to say, and people know it's me.

Web sites are reputation machines. If your site shows that you know what you're talking about, and aren't afraid to point to others who also know what they're talking about, it will be more successful. Generally, sites that aim for amorphous, arm-wavy marketing concepts like "branding," restrict outside links, value appearance over content, and try to force users into a particular navigational path, fail, because people find them uninteresting and not worth re-visiting.

If you're looking at Ford cars, for instance, is much less useful than Edmunds or MSN CarPoint, because those latter sites actually talk about cars the way people interested in cars do -- not the way the company wants them to think. On the Web, the user rules.


Journal Archive »

Template BBEdited on 29-Apr-2010

Site problems? Gripes? Angst? - e-mail
Site contents © 1997–2007 by Derek K. Miller

You may use content from this site non-commercially if you give me credit, under the terms of my Creative Commons license.

eXTReMe Tracker